Program manager Interview Questions in Singapore

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Microsoft
Program Manager was asked...5 July 2012

Consider a lift lobby where people are waiting for the lift. Now when lift arrives people get in irrespective of who came first. Thus, the person who came first keeps waiting and others keep getting in. Design a lift system which can solve the problem of this person.

16 Answers

I don't find any of the answers posted above by Vikram, Vishnu or Deb as appropriate! @Vikram: Can you increase the size of a lift lobby??? FYI a lift lobby is the space u generally have between an array of lifts located on opposite sides of a wall. Having a narrow path and having a long waiting queue?? Imagine such a situation in an office or a shopping mall or an apartment! and will u demolish an existing building to reinstall this design u are suggesting - who will buy ur design? @Vishnu: Elevator - do u mean escalator? Imagine a 30-40 floor building and and escalator going 30 floors up and down! Think of the time u will have to take to reach the top floor. There can be n types of solution, but it is important to evaluate every solution. we are not suggesting just an alternate solution, but addressing the users problem. I think we are increasing his problem by this design. And also consider the technical feasibility of such design in say 50 floor building? and again will u demolish an existing building to reinstall this design u are suggesting - who will buy ur design? @Deb: Again, we are solving the users problem here and not just suggesting solution for the sake of it. Imagine such a lift system installed in your apartment complex! The camera would know that you are no. 7, how would you know that? not knowing this you will try to enter a lift and then u say that the lift will stop u!!! and there may be 6 lifts in the lobby. Say at a particular instance of time 2 lifts - lift 1 (going down) and lift 4 (going up) arrive. you will not let in person no 10 who wants to go down while all other 9 who came before and wants to go up. And how would the camera know which floor the person wants to go?? I am just giving pointers and this is the way the options will be struck down, if they do not address the actual problem/ or you do not consider the feasibility of implementation. The solution that i gave was this: When one enters a lift lobby first thing he does is to press up or down button to call a lift going up or down respectively. Once we enter a lift we have the keyboard to press the floor number inside the lift. What i suggested is to have a similar keyboard somewhere at the entrance of the lift lobby along with a small embedded display screen. So that when i am entering the lobby i press say 11 (to go to the 11th floor). While i press that, instantly the lobby shows me the lift number (say Lift 1, 2, ..6) i need to get into. So i know which lift i need to get into and i will obviously stand in front of that lift. At any time, the same lift number will not be issued to more than X people (where X is a predefined number of persons who can go in a lift at a time). Here the design is not in reinventing the entire lift system. Nobody will incur so much real estate cost to scrap the existing lift system and build a totally new designed one! The actually design here would be to build the backend logic that the lift system would use to assign the right lift number to every arriver in the most efficient way. e.g. Assume a simple start state (for a 2 lift lobby) when all lifts are stationary at the ground floor. When P1 (going to F10) comes System assigns him L1. For P2 (F5) assigns L2. Now to P3 (F12) assign L1, P4(F11) assign L1, P5(F4) assign L2 and so on. This is a simple situation. All we need is an algorithm which can address this lift assignment in the most efficient way. I WAS SELECTED :) Less

Have a two way door opening in the lift. But always entry should be in one side and exit other side. Less

Sorry for my previous response. Wrongly understood the question

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Microsoft

You are on a game show. There are three doors, behind one of which is a prize and the other two is a chunk of coal, and the host knows which door holds the prize. You choose door #1. Before it is opened, the host opens door #3 and reveals a lump of coal. You have the choice to stick with the door you chose originally or switch to door #2. What do you do?

17 Answers

Interview Candidate and Anonymous are right. This is also known as the Monte Hall problem Less

Your choice splits the doors in two sets. Set A contains the door you selected, and the probability that is a prize behind this door is 1/3. The set B contains all remaining doors, and the probability that the winning door is somewhere in there is 2/3. By removing one door, which all have the success probability of zero because there's coal behind them, from set B, only one door remains in B, but the overall probability for success in set B is still 2/3. Therefore you must switch. Less

Interview candidate is right. You got 1/3 chance that prize is behind door #1 and you lose if you switch. And you got 2/3 chance that prize is behind either door #2 or #3. Since the host will always eliminate the wrong one. 2/3 chance will be allocated on the left one. Less

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Microsoft

You are on a desert island, and all you have is a pair of dice. You know that a plane flies over the island on the 30th day of the month. Using the dice, how can you make a calendar that always tells you the day of the month?

12 Answers

Using two digits in "base 6" you can count up to 35. Typically base 6 would use digits 0 to 5, but in this case you can adjust and use 1 through 6. Less

How about... Dice 1: each pip equals 1 day: 1 pip =1 day, 2 pips = 2 days, etc. Dice 2 each pip equals 5 days: 1 pip = 5 days, 2 pips = 10 days 3 pips = 15 days etc. Die 2 is always to the left of Die 1. For days less than or equal to 5 use 1 die. When counting a day that is a multiple of 5 (days 5,10,15 etc.) count day by putting Die to 5 pips and Die 2 to the remaining number of days. Less

@Rikesh: How will you indicate 17, 18, 19, 20, 27, 28, 29, 30. Here is what i think... D D 6*0+1=1 6*0+2=2 6*0+3=3 .. 6*0+6=6 6*1+1=7 6*1+2=8 .. 6*1+6=12 6*2+1=13 6*2+2=14 .. 6*2+6=18 6*3+1=19 6*3+2=20 Less

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Google

what is angle between hour hand and minute hand in clock at 4:20 ? what is biggest conflict management you have handled in your work place

11 Answers

IF min's hand rotates for 360 deg, hr's hand rotates for 30 deg - so for 60 min - hr's hand rotates for 30 deg. For 1 min it rotates for 0.5 degree. Hence, for 20 min it rotates for 10 degrees. The angle between hr's hand and min's hand should be 10 deg. Less

in every 60 minutes hour hand moves 30 degrees. so at 14:20 ( it means that 20 minutes have past since last turn) hour hand moves 20*30/60 = 10 degrees so the answer is 10 degrees... Less

10 degrees

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Amazon

Why Amazon?

10 Answers

I completed diploma branch EEE

For best and correct experience

Fine

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Amazon

Given a string like "I'm being interviewed by Amazon" implement a method that reverses the given string so that it looks like "Amazon by interviewed being I'm".

10 Answers

we can first reverse the whole string, and then reverse the individual words O(n) complexity Less

3-line solution in PowerShell: $str = "I'm being interviewed by Amazon".Split() $([array]::Reverse($str) ) [string]$str Less

" ".join("I'm being interviewed by Amazon ".split()[::-1])

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Microsoft

You have a cake. How many straight cuts do you need to divide the cake into 8 equal pieces?

9 Answers

It depends on the shape of the cake.

3 First 0 degree Second 90 degree No I have 4 have equal parts. Third From the Centre height wise. (Z-axis) Now I have 8 equal parts. Less

With 4 straight cuts through 0, 45, 90, and 135 degrees You can cut the cake into 8 equal pieces Less

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Google

How many ways that you can choose 3 desserts from a menu of 10?

7 Answers

Just to clarify: the original reviewer's answer - C(10,3) - is indeed incorrect. More specifically, C(10,3) represents a number of ways to pick 3 DISTINCT desserts. The problem statement does not suggest that the desserts should be unique; moreover, it's very natural to order three identical desserts! I believe the correct answer to be a sum of C(10,3) /* number of ways to pick 3 distinct desserts */ + 10 * 9 /*number of ways to pick 2 matching and 1 distinct dessert */ + 10 /* number of ways to pick 3 matching desserts */ = 220 Less

C (10, 3) = 120 - This is very simple

If order matters (it would to me if I were eating them), and repetition is allowed, the answer would be 1,000 since you can choose any of the 10 for the first, second and third dessert resulting in 10 X 10 X 10 possible dessert sequences. Less

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Google

If a change in a product made Google less money over all and even would reduce the revenue of partners but might save money for the consumers should Google still do it?

6 Answers

>> seemed to want to base the answer on "doing something good for the world" as being Google's real mission. That is the right answer. If you read Google's set of values, it says there clearly - you dont have to be evil to make money. He was testing if you believe in that. Less

I would argue that Google has to stay in business to continue to do good if that really is still is their "value". The is NOTHING evil about having a sensible business model so you can continue to remain in business and serve your customers. So the feature has to be looked at in balance. I mean the logical extension is why not just have Google buy the thing for you! That would be great for the customer, but not a sustainable business model. My answer also included that when you look at the overall impact on the feature you may very well decide its a good feature if you believe the overall perceived value to the customer generates enough good will for Google to be worth the reduction in revenue to Google (good luck selling that to the partners though). So I'm going to stick with that interviewer needed to realize "doing good" depends on remaining healthy enough to continue to be able to do that "good". And there is nothing evil about that. Less

The question came from a very junior interviewer that seemed to want to base the answer on "doing something good for the world" as being Google's real mission. I think my answer that Google needed to think more about the feature and its impact on Google and partner revenues before deployment was not what the interviewer wanted to hear. Less

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Apple

You have a program with something or component that fails 1 week before launch. What do you do?

5 Answers

I believe the point here is not saying that you should/have a back-up plan for this (you can mention that at first, but then assume that something went terribly wrong)... So in my case I would go through the how crucial is this program/component for the launch? can be fixed with an update? how much time/resources are needed to meet the deadline? what would be the impact of delaying the launch until the problem is solved? is it feasible? after the brainstorming and impact analysis you could take the decision of delaying, solve the problem or ship everything as-is and fix the problem afterwards. Once the problem is solved you should go through the situation again and understand what went wrong and prevent it from happening again. Less

Alvaro is right. The question is about how pragmatic and adaptable you are.

You always have a have a back-up part ready, fully qualified and and waiting in the wings! There is no way to launch an iPhone 4 and sell millions of units on a tight schedule without a backup plan for every part. Less

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